Summer High School Programs in Mongolia with Rustic Pathways

Video and Photos

Visiting a Kazakh family
Visiting a Kazakh family
Top of Malchin Peak
Top of Malchin Peak
Hiking to Malchin base camp
Hiking to Malchin base camp
view of where we stayed
waking up after a night camping in the countryside

About

Our programs work with nomadic communities in the Tavan Bogd mountain region, where villagers still live in traditional gers, circular buildings constructed of a wooden lattice and sheep felt. Mongolia has the lowest population density of any country in the world (there are just 3.2 people per square mile) and more horses than humans. Most Mongolians learn to ride horseback at a young age, and some ethnic groups still use trained golden eagles for hunting.

Travel to Mongolia and reconsider your definition of rustic. You may lack showers and clean clothes, but you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring surroundings. Mongolia’s nomadic culture and expansive, untouched landscapes appeal to the hardiest of travelers and the most determined of adventurers.

Scholarships

Rustic Pathways Scholarships
Rustic Pathways Scholarships and Financial Aid

Rustic Pathways is committed to making life-changing opportunities possible for students worldwide. We know how impactful our programs are, and continually strive to make them more accessible to all students.

Value
$1,000 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 7 reviews
  • Impact 9.6
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9.6
  • Growth 9.5
  • Support 8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
Default avatar
Frederico
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Radically different

The best part of travelling with rustic to Mongolia was that I really felt I was completely immersed in the culture and in the experience itself.
The landscape, the food, the locals, the weather, the tradition and the staff made Mongolia have a taste completely different from everything that I tried before.
The staff made sure we were entertained and that the group was getting along well. On top of that, each evening we would have a deep conversation amongst the group guided by the staff to make sure we were making the most out of the experience we were having for our personal growth. That’s why I felt that this experience was really eye-opening for me.
Since Mongolia is a country that is difficult to visit by yourself, I was really glad that we had an itinerary that really gave a glimpse of what Mongolia really is.
Overall, a unique experience that now has become a treasured memory.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Food can be a main factor on making you feel travel sickness.
You eat a lot of meat every day and very little veggies (pratically no fruit).
The first thing I was craving for when I got home was big chunk of watermelon!
Default avatar
Alexandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It takes a special kind of person to go to Mongolia

I chose this trip at random. From the pictures and short blurb on the Rustic Pathways website, Off the Map: Mongolia seemed like the greatest adventure, requiring the most adventurous spirit while providing the most rustic accommodations. I have no regrets. On my trip the seven other students I traveled with and our three leaders quickly became a family. We had fun living in the moment and seeing where our three week adventure would take us. This trip has been one of the most accurately, culturally immersive experiences I have engaged in as a student traveler. The homestays, while not what I had anticipated, were exciting. We lived in yurts--or traditional gers-- with the other members of our trip. These homes were set up by families who were willing to host the group as a whole, not the individual. We ate all of our meals together and spent all freetime bonding with the parents and their children, or the greater town population. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime trip and lifelong friendships, Off the Map: Mongolia is waiting for you.

Default avatar
Sadie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing

I had an amazing time on the trip to Mongolia and met some lifelong friends. We spent most of our time staying in gers in more remote villages, but we spent multiple nights in a guest house called the Lotus, which I really enjoyed. The highlight of the trip for me was the Buddhist temple or the camel riding. I enjoyed the temple because it was unlike anything I’ve seen before and I enjoyed the camel riding because I like animals

Cole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Off The Map: Mongolia

I think I can speak for everyone who went on this trip, in saying that we had an amazing time, and we all had so much fun doing it. We were able to see things that people will rarely get a chance to see, experiencing new cultures, and the landscapes they have settled in. Future trip goers will be astonished by the rugged landscapes, and learn from the people who live in them. I wish I could stay there longer and would love to go back.

What would you improve about this program?
More time out in the West, and less in UB. I felt that we did not need all the time at the beginning and the end of the trip in UB.
Default avatar
Ali
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

MONGOLIA?

This program taught me that I can mentally over come anything. When it's cold, you haven't showered for 15 days, you wear the same pants and shirt for 3 weeks, and eat the same thing everyday, you start to learn what you truly find happiness in. Not only do you learn about yourself, but you learn to truly love yourself for who you are, good and bad.

What would you improve about this program?
Less down time.
Default avatar
Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Land of Sunny Skies

This trip was one of the most amazing trips I've ever been on. The staff did an amazing job of making it fun and meaningful. They did an amazing job of always keeping us engaged in our activities and getting us to open up to each other. I really connected with all of the other people on trip thanks to the nightly activities that the staff did. I loved the long road trips and all the hiking. A large portion of the trip was horseback riding through the Mongolian countryside, and it was so beautiful. Seeing all of the amazing sights on horseback is a memory that I really cherish. If I could do this trip again I would in a heartbeat.

What would you improve about this program?
more preparation for the service we did. We taught English in an orphanage/school, and talking about what we were going to do, and what lessons we should teach would have been nice.
Default avatar
Kyla
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Off the Map: Mongolia

I traveled with Rustic Pathways in the summer of 2013 on their Off the Map: Mongolia program and felt thoroughly impacted, inspired, and changed by the experience. It was a one of a kind experience that was by no stretch of the imagination glamorous- we spent most of the trip traveling in a Soviet era van or on horseback, and living with nomadic, traditional families- but it was authentic, and left me feeling fascinated by the country, people and culture. The best part for me was meeting and experiencing the hospitality of Mongolian nomads, who were happy to share their way of life with us foreigners. When we arrived at one family's ger camp in a rain storm, they welcomed us into their family ger for the night, preventing us from having to set up our tents in the rain. The ger- a one roomed, sturdy tent-like structure that is probably smaller than your bedroom, made up their house and living quarters in entirety, but they were kind enough to share this personal space with us- complete strangers. Overall, I would recommend this trip to anyone who is adventurous, and interested in learning about a completely different way of life. It will challenge your understanding of "happiness", and will leave you fascinated with this beautiful country.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that made me sad about this program is that it wasn't longer... I wanted to stay the entire summer! It would be cool to offer a homestay option.

Interviews

Alumni Interviews

About Rustic Pathways

Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways. Choose from culturally-immersive adventure and volunteer programs in 17 countries. Make lifelong friends from around the world, work on sustainable community service projects, and discover new...